Type: Trad, 90 ft
FA: JJ Schlick 2011
Page Views: 3,587 total · 40/month
Shared By: JJ Schlick on Aug 13, 2011
Admins: Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Greg Opland

You & This Route

21 Opinions

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Phantasm is one of the most unique lines I've ever established on basalt, and when I first laid eyes upon the series of traverse holds, it was like a veil between dreams and reality was lifted. A geologic blessing from another time. I named it Phantasm both for its faintness and because I thought it might one day become a chopped out ghost route. It’s survived at least one selective chopping and was brought back from the light to haunt Volunteer Canyon once again. Maybe forever this time. 

From the climbers left side of the drainage at a large half alive ponderosa which juts off the edge of the rim, rappel past knobby horns down 90' to an excellent belay ledge and a fixed belay.

From the deluxe ledge, tackle the slightly overhanging dihedral with thuggy hand and finger pods (5.10). Take a moment at the break before the rail traverse, and eye it well. Once on the move again pop up to the jug, and then start moving past perfect jugs and textured smearing towards the steep thin crack.

Entering the thin crack and then getting into the hanging stem box is the crux of the route. This section is exciting, engaging, and ever so slightly enigmatic. After you plug some small gear and enter into the stem box be prepared for some intriguing and semi technical stemming for 30' of airy exposure in the shallow box. At the top of the box there is a good #.75 Camalot in a diagonal slot/handhold. One final tricky section exiting the top of the box to the right is followed by easier blocky climbing to the top.

The rock temperature may sway the grade a bit on this thing. Cold stone will make the traverse feel like an ice rink. Picture perfect conditions would be an ambient 70 degrees and climb it in the shade. 

The direct start has been done at 5.12+ PG-13 if you are looking to up the ante.


Climbers left side of drainage, at base of large ponderosa.


Single set through #3 Camalot. Small/ medium wires. Plenty of draws and long draws.
JJ Schlick
Flagstaff, AZ
JJ Schlick   Flagstaff, AZ  
GU- About ten years ago I watched a guy pull out a microwave sized block while leading unclimbed terrain on what we now refer to as the Pillar Wall. The subsequent 40' whipper and rockfall probably should have killed him, not to mention his partner. They were both, very lucky that day.

Seems to me this place is big enough to handle a handful of safe, clean, modern lines. The question is are you?

After 20 years of putting up new lines, I have been out of the death route market for a long time. Without the bolts Phantasm would be an X rated pitch that wouldn't exist. However, this route has already seen a number of ascents, and nothing but rave reviews by local Flagstaff climbers. Dec 20, 2011
Cool looking route. Looks to have a nice mix of moves.

GU is trolling on the boards lately trying to bring back the '70s.

Personally, I would oppose bolts at The Forks but the Cwm is a different place. More shattered is what I recall which means more blocks, etc... There's already some bad juju here so safety comes first. More like a cross between the Overlook and the Forks...

Nice job... Dec 20, 2011
+ 1 for JJ. I'm of the same mind in my older years.

Unless you're out there doing hard ground up FA's you have no cred to comment. Put up or shut up. Dec 23, 2011
Darren Mabe
Flagstaff, AZ
Darren Mabe   Flagstaff, AZ
"put up or shut up"
I love it. Dec 23, 2011
Mike broad
Tucson, AZ
Mike broad   Tucson, AZ
Thank you JJ for putting up so many of my favorite routes! Oct 13, 2015
JJ Schlick
Flagstaff, AZ
JJ Schlick   Flagstaff, AZ  
I do my best, thanks. Oct 13, 2015
Flagstaff, AZ
Wylie   Flagstaff, AZ
Spectacular. One of the best 5.11's around Flagstaff.

In the past there were no climbing shoes, no sticky rubber, no chalk, no nylon dynamic ropes. There used to only be stance drilled tiny crappy bolts. Now sport and mixed climbing is huge. Just because you came up in one era doesn't mean your ethics and style are superior. Everything in this world changes with time and climbing is not somehow magically excluded from that dynamic. Get over it. You don't like bolts, don't clip them. You want there to be more r/x trad routes? Well, get in there and do the FA r/x style before anyone else touches it.

Thanks for putting up so many classic lines for us all to challenge ourselves on and dream about JJ! Oct 9, 2017